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Page last updated at 16:58 GMT, Saturday, 29 November 2008

Falkirk 1-1 Hibernian

Michael Higdon and Chris Hogg challenge at Falkirk Stadium
The points were shared in an open encounter

Falkirk and Hibs shared the spoils after substitute Colin Nish headed in a late equaliser for the visitors.

Darren Barr nodded the home side ahead on 69 minutes, with goalkeeper Yves Ma-Kalambay badly out of position.

Hibs' Steven Fletcher had earlier headed wide of an empty goal from close range but Nish was on hand to finish off a knockdown from Rob Jones.

Ma-Kalambay made amends for his error with good late saves to deny Kevin McBride and Michael Higdon.

The match was dedicated to Falkirk's veteran midfielder Russell Latapy, who was an unused substitute, and how both sides could have done with a playmaker like the Caribbean maestro in his pomp.

There were neat passages of play throughout an open game but both teams were blunt in attack, lacking creativity in the final third of the pitch.

Falkirk did most of the early pressing and midfielder Burton O'Brien twice threatened in the opening 20 minutes.

He skipped past David Van Zanten to drill a shot into the side-netting from the edge of the penalty area and later had Ma-Kalambay scrambling to push away a low, curling free kick.

Hibs were content to hit on the break and Dean Shiels had a shot charged down before Derek Riordan's tame volley rolled through to Scott Flinders.

Ma-Kalambay made an acrobatic leap to gather a Higdon header, while Fletcher bent a free kick narrowly wide of the target at the other end.

The Scotland striker then had a spectacular attempt at a volley blocked by Bairns skipper Barr.

Falkirk regained the bulk of possession as the interval approached and Higdon was only inches away from connecting with a flick-on from strike partner Steve Lovell on the apex of the six-yard box.

Riordan was squeezed out by two defenders when a Van Zanten strike rebounded into his path after the break and Sol Bamba was close to connecting with the resulting corner, with Flinders flapping at fresh air.

Van Zanten floated a cross to the back post and Fletcher's downward header somehow went wide from only a yard or so out.

The visitors were to pay for that miss on when some calamitous goalkeeping handed Barr a gift of a goal.

Ma-Kalambay went chasing after O'Brien's cross, leaving his goal completely exposed much to the delight of the Falkirk defender, who came ghosting in at the back post to take full advantage of the keeper's poor decision.

Hibs were struggling to create chances from open play but always looked a threat from set-pieces, with Flinders none too convincing in between the sticks.

And Nish was on hand to capitalise when Hibs captain Jones beat the keeper to Alan O'Brien's lofted corner, nodding the knockdown home from close range.

McBride had a scorching shot tipped over by Ma-Kalambay as play opened up further in the closing stages and the big Belgian keeper did really well to beat out Higdon's flick from six yards.


Falkirk manager John Hughes: "I felt we totally dominated the game. We passed it well, got at them, got plenty of crosses into the box, although we maybe could have been a bit braver in the penalty box.

"We left ourselves open on the counter once or twice and, once we scored, Hibs came into it but I thought we should have seen it out.

"For their goal, the keeper thought he got blocked. I know where he's coming from but he's a lad of 6ft 2" and I expect him to punch or catch that. But who's picking him up? We can't give someone like Rob Jones a free run, so everyone has to take responsibility.

"The boys have put everything into the game and I'm frustrated for them not at them."

Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen: "I'm delighted with an away point but our passing was nowhere near good enough.

"But credit must go to Falkirk, they pressed us well and were always hungry to win the ball back.

"Even though we were not at our best we created four clear-cut chances and could have won the game.

"It was sheer determination from big Rob Jones that got us the goal and Colin Nish was in the right place to finish it off."


Falkirk: Flinders, McNamara, Bullen, Barr, Holden, McBride, Cregg, Riera (Arfield 86), O'Brien, Lovell, Higdon. Subs Not Used: Olejnik, Barrett, Latapy, Mark Stewart, McCaffrey, Lynch.

Booked: Riera.

Goal: Barr 69.

Hibernian: Ma-Kalambay, van Zanten, Hogg, Jones, Bamba, Shiels, Chisholm (O'Brien 66), Murray, Rankin, Fletcher, Riordan (Nish 75). Subs Not Used: McNeil, Yantorno, Keenan, Thicot, Stevenson.

Booked: Nish.

Goal: Nish 82.

Att: 6,260

Ref: A Muir


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Hibernian's Steven Fletcher 8.00 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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